Here we try to discuss exactly about what makes a mentor a GOOD mentor. Therefore, we want to use some challenges that can arise between volunteers and mentor during the EVS period and offer practical advices and factual examples coming directly from real life, from our EVS experiences.
What is a mentor
A mentor is a person who has the ability to empower another person and reduce his or her capacity for passivity. A mentor says, “I’m here for you.”
At one time or other, a mentor may play many roles, including those of: Guide – Partner – Friend – Wise and Trusted Teacher – Coach – Listener – Link to Other Cultures, Other Attitudes – Confidant – Role Model – Self-Esteem Booster – Tutor – Brother/Sister
Role of the Mentor
- To contact the volunteer before the volunteer arrive (maybe with a letter, facebook, email, phone call, etc.) This could include the important contact and some information about the country like how to arrive to the destination, who to contact and what to do in case something wrong happened on the way, etc. .
- To make sure that the host organization managed everything that is needed for the volunteer to be able to work (like the accommodation, traveling tickets, food, mobile phone, monthly tickets for the bus/metro, etc.).
- Pick up the volunteers from the airport or final stop and bring them to the place of residence and if needed, register the volunteer in the residence place, police station, municipality, etc.)
- Help the volunteer with the language until a language course is provided.
- Provide information about the insurance, money refund, the closest doctor/hospital, shops, restaurant, pubs, help with opening a bank account if needed, pharmacy, all the emergency numbers.
- Manage discovering the city, maybe in the shape of a game.
- Creating a plan for case of crisis and how to prevent them.
- Organize at least a weekly meeting with the volunteer and discus all that happened during the week (work, social, activities, events, problems, volunteer health) and discus about how it can be improved and finding a way to overcome all the problem and obstacles
- Trying to raise the cultural awareness of the volunteer.
- Introduce the volunteer with the Youthpass and help writing it.
- Tell the volunteer about interesting events going in the city/country.
- If the volunteer is having any problems with any parts (other volunteers, person that is in charge in the hosting organization, tutor, language teacher, doctor, etc.), try talking to any of these parts to try to solve the problem.
- Help join clubs, sports, arts places and activities of their interest.
- Try to be the volunteers’ friend.
- Help the volunteer to get in touch with local community for better interaction and knowing the country.
- Introduce to volunteer cultural matters (like what to dress, what to do and not to do, the law of the country, etc.).
- Help the volunteer realizing the EVS achievements and its impact on his future life and on the community.
- Help the volunteer to have a plan of the follow up activities before finishing his EVS.
- Help the volunteer to acquire new skills, abilities and improve the ones that are already acquired.
As additional ideas, a mentor may also:
- Introduce the volunteer to the mentor family, maybe inviting the volunteer to spend the national holidays together.
- Introduce the religion of the hosting country by (giving information and visiting holy places)
- Organize a short cooking workshop about the local food of the hosting country and vice versa from the country of the volunteer.
- Organize a birthday party for the volunteer if possible.
N.B: If there is no good connection between the mentor and the volunteer we advise to change the mentor